Telstra trials green cell in network

Thursday, 01 October, 2009

In an Australian first, Telstra is trialling an energy-efficient hydrogen fuel cell in its live network which has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% compared with an equivalent-sized diesel generator.

Located at Dixons Creek Telephone Exchange in Victoria, the 5 kW, 48 V hydrogen fuel cell is providing power for fixed and mobile telecommunication services to the local community instead of a battery or diesel generator.

The technology has been tested by Telstra to produce 20% less carbon dioxide emissions without creating noxious gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

“This Australian-first trial within a live network illustrates our innovative approach to technology," said Executive Director Network and Technology, Michael Lawrey.

“Our commitment to trialling alternative sources of energy has the potential to have a huge impact given the size of our telecommunications network across Australia.”

Lawrey said that in Telstra telephone exchanges where there is a network demand of less than 5 kW the fuel cell could be used to replace the use of batteries and diesel generators.

“There is potential for many hundreds of fuel cells to be deployed within our network,” he said.

The hydrogen fuel cell converts hydrogen gas into electricity by mixing methanol (methyl alcohol) and water. Using hydrogen fuel cell technology it is possible to obtain electricity at efficiencies normally only achievable in large, high-temperature turbine generators.

Lawrey says the trial is expected to be completed by December. The fuel cell is connected to Telstra’s Global Operations Centre in Clayton through Telstra’s next-generation internet protocol alarm network.

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